How to Throw a Summer Dinner Party, Part 2

How to Throw a Summer Dinner Party, Part 2Welcome back! Now that you’ve moved effortlessly from rearranging furniture to buying a cheese plate [Note: See Dinner Party Tips Part 1. I’ll say it again: everybody loves a cheese plate), let’s head over to the main event. Your guests are nibbling on Brie and Spanish olives, everyone’s had a grapefruit G&T or two, and now it’s time to sit them down.

1. Go vegetarian. I’m a firm believer in the all-vegetarian dinner party. Not only does it convince your meat-eating friends that vegetarian food can be delicious (ooh, you’re so sneaky!), but it’s more affordable–and you can always serve multiple smaller dishes rather than one big roast. I’ll show you some more specific menu ideas later in the week, but for now, think about centering your meal around a veggie pasta, a spread of colorful roasted veggies, a summery soup, or even a hearty salad.

2. Have an ally. I always ask one of my close girlfriends to come over early anytime that I’m hosting. There are so many fantastic reasons to do this: 1) You have a perfect excuse to make and drink one of those cool cocktails, 2) You have a buffer in case that awkward single guy from work is the first to arrive, and 3) You have someone who can talk you down from the ledge if you’re stressed about the main course. A significant other is also a great ally in times like these. Ask them to help you bring out dishes, carry wine glasses, and handle those annoying little issues that always pop up when your hands are full.

3. Be fancy and serve wine with dinner. Maybe this is a no-brainer, but you don’t have to keep serving cocktails all night–find a white or rosé wine that pairs well with your dishes, buy a few bottles, and keep your guests’ glasses full!

4. And if wine isn’t enough, plan a secret ice breaker. We’re not in kindergarten, so don’t be obvious about it, but asking a question like “Does everyone remember their childhood crush?” or “Who has a celebrity doppelgänger?” will get conversation flowing and help shyer guests speak up.

5. Do dessert casually and switch locations. After the amazing meal you’ve just served, have everyone move over to your living room/porch/couch/Gatsby-esque pool. Bring more wine (and/or coffee) and hand everyone a small plate of dessert. If you’re serving cookies or some sort of sweet finger food, let your guests serve themselves. Put on a different playlist–something slow and moody if you feel like the night is winding down, or something sultry and catchy if you want people to dance. A change of scenery keeps the party feeling alive and unexpected. And now that everyone’s lounging around by your multi-million dollar pool on your couch, the conversation can really get going… and you can finally kick off your shoes.

photo attribute: chokingxl

 

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